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Frequently Asked Questions About Underage DUI Laws

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Underage DUIs are prevalent in the U.S. According to some studies, law enforcement's strict laws and vigilance have actually not contributed to the significant reduction in underage drunk driving-related accidents. Here are some of the frequently asked questions regarding underage DUI laws.

What Are the Laws on Underage DUI?

In all states, a driver—regardless of their age—can be convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. According to the standard DUI laws, a driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% can be charged with a DUI offense. This is a criminal offense.

The zero-tolerance offense applies only to motorists under 21years. According to zero-tolerance laws, it is illegal for young motorists to operate a vehicle after taking a small amount of alcohol. The limit varies depending on the state and may be from .02% to any amount of alcohol. In some states, a violation of zero-tolerance laws is considered an infraction, while it is a misdemeanor crime in other states. Your DUI lawyer will advise you on the laws in your jurisdiction.

What Is the Meaning of Operating a Vehicle and Public Road Requirement?

The definition of operating a vehicle varies depending on your state. In some states, it includes being in control of the vehicle even when it is not moving. This means if you are sitting in the driver's seat with the keys in the ignition, you can be charged with a DUI. In other states, there must be evidence of actual driving for a DUI conviction.

In some states, DUI laws apply to cars on public and private roadways that are accessed by the public. In other states, DUI laws apply to all roads. You should consult your DUI attorney to determine the definitions of operating a vehicle and public road requirements.

What Are the Penalties for an Underage DUI?

The penalties for violating zero-tolerance laws are less severe than a standard DUI conviction. If you are charged with an underage DUI, you will likely pay a fine of between $500 and $2,000. You are also likely to be imprisoned for six months.

Underage DUIs also result in a license suspension. The suspension may range between 30 days and one year. In some states, a convicted underage driver may get a limited license if they install an ignition interlock device. Inquire from a local DUI lawyer what penalties for underage DUIs apply to your jurisdiction.